Passion fruit jam

 This huge passionfruit vine started out as a small wizzened fruit bought in Aldi in Ludlow in 2018.  I kept it in the fridge over some months till it was even more dried out.  Then brought it with me to Portugal where I finally cut it open and sowed the seeds.  2 years later we are eating its fragrant fruit and have just made some jam.


Azerbajani stuffed vine leaves via Portugal

Feride Buyuran's Dolmas 

This has become a firm favourite with us and is definitely worth doing, I was very impressed with watching Feride Buyuran's recipe, here below is my version, I have added a few variations of my own.

She can show you how it's really done!  If you would like my version ...


Out of the blue

It's a wonderful thing when you are surprised by the loveliness of a vegetable plant growing in one's plot.  OK, some might consider it to be technicaly a fruit, but that I think is splitting hairs.  Here is my favourite aubergine, with its gorgeous velvety leaves, with their cockled edges. It  produces many elongated slim aubergines which are delicious and have no hint of bitterness or sharp spines on their calix, in other words an all round good thing.  I am preparing Moussaka tonight - will report back...


Magnum opus

 Well OK maybe not, but still my latest creation does not fail to raise a smile.  When we bought the house we found a large dried out gourd, which seemed like a total waste of time to have grown, but needing a bathroom waste bin we sawed it in 2 and just this week I got round to painting it and afixing legs.  Admittedly it now looks remarkably like a cow's udder - but it has a certain charm.


 Temperatures here are in the mid-30s and so perversely I decided that our next design suggestion for Zen in Korea should be for Christmas.  We work well in advance to get manufacturing deadlines right for the season. 

I wanted to buck the trend of the normal, Christmas themed scarlet /green/ holly/ baubles motifs. Instead I wanted to evoke a winter’s night in a forest.  The wind blows between the trees and mist swirls in the chilled air casting a hazy diffuse aura in the night sky.

I chose 2 simple shapes – here shown is the elongated oblong (just right for a generous handing round of mince pies) and a tall mug.


Pickled cucs - August 8th

 We're well into the preserving season now.  The garden is producing more than we can manage to eat so I'm busily bottling our tomatoes, pickling chillies and cucumbers  and have just purchased a food dehydrator.

These though are a real fav.  In the States they are called refridgerator pickles.  They don't keep for long as they are in a subtle vinegar- not the usual sort that will strip your mouth of sensations with their acidity!

I make a light vinegar- 

1 cup vinegar (6%) 

3 cups water

1 tsp salt

4 tsp sugar

dill, coriander seed - whatever is growing handy.  Boil all this up for 1 min and cool.  In the meantime, chop gherkins into fingers or chunks as you like.  Put in a capacious bowl.  Sprinkle on 1 tsp course sea salt and leave to drain.  After 30mins, pack into sterile jars and pour over pickling brine.  Seal and put in fridge.  Will keep safely for 1 month - but one's loved ones will steal them well before that date. 


5th August - All the constituent parts ready to harvest


Finally my first aubergines are ripe and picked.  this year I am growing Asian ones, enlongated, and creamy smooth texture with no bitterness.  Tonight I will of course cook a rat.

water gimchi on a hot day - perfect.

 i love the contradictions, cold juice and searing chilli.  The shock must do great things for your endorphins.